So, you've had an Instant Pot for a while now but still don't know where to begin, or maybe you followed in the footsteps of countless other home cooks and finally bought one. You likely made the investment for the same reason they have: It's a multi-purpose kitchen appliance that can help you make almost every type of dish imaginable.
The Instant Pot's versatility can also be daunting—it can pressure-cook, sauté, braise, and steam? It can whip up both keto and vegan dishes? There are so many Instant Pot cookbooks out there of varying credibility, making it harder to know where to begin. That's why we've done the work for you.
The Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook
This comprehensive cookbook by Laurel Randolph gives you all the knowledge you need to start using your Instant Pot right out of the box. The intro takes you through each cooking function so you know how and when to use it, and the more than 100 easy recipes clearly spell out the cooking times and pressure levels required—two of the toughest parts about using this kitchen contraption correctly.
We loved the useful tips included at the end of each recipe, which comprise information about the ingredients, how to use an Instant Pot, and cooking tips. The recipes are helpfully flagged as family-friendly, fast weekday wins, meals that take over 45 minutes, and kid-friendly. Plus, there are options for vegetarian, gluten-free, and paleo-friendly lifestyles.
Price at time of publish: $15
Number of Recipes: More than 100 | Pages: 176 | Date Published: 2016
"The majority of recipes were in the 30 -to 45-minute range, so they’re perfect for weeknight dinners." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
The Keto Instant Pot Cookbook: Ketogenic Diet Pressure Cooker Recipes Made Easy and Fast
Sticking to a keto diet already takes a lot of planning, so you shouldn’t have to spend more time cooking elaborate meals at night. This Instant Pot-focused cookbook aims to save you time without compromising the way you want to eat.
There are over 65 recipes that take less than 45 minutes from start to finish. Each one has under 12 grams of net carbs per serving with most of them falling below 10 grams. And if you’re completely new to the keto lifestyle, you can learn more about it from the book’s intro, which explains the principles of the diet and helps you calculate your macros.
Price at time of publish: $15
Number of Recipes: 65+ | Pages: 194 | Date Published: 2018
"The book touts that most recipes are done in 45 minutes or less, and for the most part, I found that to be true." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best for Dinner Parties
Dinner in an Instant: 75 Modern Recipes for Your Pressure Cooker, Multicooker, and Instant Pot®
Melissa Clark, the well-known New York Times food writer, initially bought herself an Instant Pot because she wanted to know what all the fuss was about. She soon found out that this small kitchen gadget could revolutionize her dinner repertoire. So, she wrote a cookbook completely devoted to the Instant Pot. In it, she offers recipes for imaginative meals that remain convenient for the cook, such as Japanese beef curry, green Persian rice with tahdig, smoky lentils, and osso buco.
We were pleased with how easy most of the ingredients were to source and how there were substitutions suggested for items that were seasonal or tricky to find.
Price at time of publish: $22
Number of Recipes: 75 | Pages: 160 | Date Published: 2017
"I was pleased with every recipe I tried and found that the number of spices (and salt) gave me tasty and well-balanced dishes." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best for Beginners
How to Instant Pot: Mastering All the Functions of the One Pot That Will Change the Way You Cook
Many home cooks have the same feeling when they first look at their Instant Pot’s control panel: intimidation. All those functions and buttons can make you nervous that you might blow up your kitchen if you make the wrong move. Luckily, "How to Instant Pot" by Daniel Shumski explains everything from the beginning.
The cookbook is divided into sections based on functions, like pressure cooking, slow cooking, and steaming. You’ll read a detailed explanation of how the cooking method works, when and why you should use it, and some of the pitfalls you might run into along the way. The organization of the cookbook and the thoroughness of its explanations earned it high marks among many reviewers; some do note, however, that a few of the recipes didn't turn out as flavorful as they expected.
That said, the recipes are arranged in a manner so that you can build on the techniques you learn. There are several “Master Methods”—or basic recipes—followed by variations. For example, you can make a beef and butternut squash stew to get used to your Instant Pot and then make the variation of Thai spiced beef stew once you feel more comfortable with the appliance. There are also a number of “Quick Fixes,” which are super short recipes, like faux-roasted garlic, that will add fast flavor to any dish.
Price at time of publish: $18
Number of Recipes: 100+ | Pages: 288 | Date Published: 2020
"My favorite way to clean the Instant Pot: Throw it in the dishwasher. Everything but the base (the part that plugs into the wall) can go in—the metal inner pot, the flexible sealing ring, and even the lid. Before the lid goes in the dishwasher, it’s nice to pop off the anti-block shield (the tiny, removable metal part on the underside of the lid), but if you forget, it’s no big deal." — Daniel Shumski, Author of "How to Instant Pot"
The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook for Your Instant Pot: 80 Easy and Delicious Plant-Based Recipes That You Can Make in Half the Time
Much more than just a way to tenderize meat, the Instant Pot is also a great resource for creating delicious, plant-based meals. This cookbook of vegan meals gives you easy recipes to shake up your weekly menu, like black chickpea curry, smoky pecan Brussels sprouts, and no-effort soy yogurt. It also has a few more sophisticated ideas, like jackfruit tinga or pumpkin tamales, if you want something that goes beyond a quick weeknight dinner.
Many reviewers praise the fact that the cookbook calls for mainly whole foods and that many of the recipes are oil-free. The book even has a section devoted to troubleshooting problems with your Instant Pot and a number of handy reference charts that give you cooking times for beans, lentils, grains, and vegetables.
Price at time of publish: $23
Number of Recipes: 80 | Pages: 224 | Date Published: 2017
"I recommend keeping a second silicone ring handy for the lid. Since the ring likes to soak up smells, use one for smelly dishes, like chili. The other can then be for neutral dishes, like rice and yogurt." — Laurel Randolph, Author of "The Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook"
Best for Indian
Indian Instant Pot Cookbook: Traditional Indian Dishes Made Easy and Fast
It may be hard to compete with your local takeout spot, but this cookbook makes it’s easy to create family-friendly Indian meals from scratch. The recipes have an average prep time of just 10 to 15 minutes and keep ingredient lists as short as possible. Several reviewers appreciated that while the recipes are detailed, they are also clearly written and easy to follow.
All 50 of the meals can be made in 60 minutes or less. Plus, you’ll get helpful tips about which spices you need to stock up on (so you don’t spend a fortune) and how to substitute ingredients when needed.
Price at time of publish: $13
Number of Recipes: 50 | Pages: 174 | Date Published: 2017
Best for Couples
The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook for Two: Perfectly Portioned Recipes for 3-Quart and 6-Quart Models
Slow cookers and pressure cookers are known for making big batches of food, which isn’t convenient if you're not feeding a crowd and don’t want your fridge packed with leftovers the next day. Thankfully, this Instant Pot cookbook takes into account your small household size by offering recipes that are perfect for just two people.
"The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook for Two" has recipe ideas that cover any meal you may want to make, from snacks to dinners, and, as many reviewers highlighted, it provides nutrition facts, prep time, and cooking time at the start of each recipe, so you know what you’re in for.
Price at time of publish: $17
Number of Recipes: 80+ | Pages: 194 | Date Published: 2019
The Gluten-Free Instant Pot Cookbook: Easy and Fast Gluten-Free Recipes for Your Electric Pressure Cooker
Those avoiding gluten can now enjoy the conveniences of an Instant Pot with this cookbook. "The Gluten-Free Instant Pot Cookbook" offers a diverse collection of recipes that are creative, easy to follow, and appealing to both kids and adults. Plus, all the recipes are grain-free for those on particularly strict diets.
This cookbook is conveniently organized by need. Short on time? There's a section on 20-minute recipes. Have limited stovetop space? There's a one-pot entrée or side recipe waiting for you. Or, if you have a specific protein, such as chicken or eggs, and want to make something new with it, there are sections organized by those categories, too.
While all the recipes are made from scratch, the majority of them require only about 15 minutes to prep, and many people say they're all simple to make.
Price at time of publish: $14
Number of Recipes: 50 | Pages: 97 | Date Published: 2018
Best Vegan Variety
The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook: Wholesome, Indulgent Plant-Based Recipes
You may know her from her popular plant-based food blog (and eponymous YouTube channel) Rainbow Plant Life, but now, former-corporate-lawyer-turned-vegan-personality Nisha Vora can add cookbook author to her resume. "The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook: Wholesome, Indulgent Plant-Based Recipes" is packed not just with colorful photos (taken by the author), but also creative, flavorful recipes that span a wide range of styles and cuisines. Standouts include the Chinese takeout-style tofu, miso mushroom risotto, West African peanut stew, and tofu cauliflower tikka masala.
In addition to the recipes being beautifully photographed, they're also clearly written and easy to follow. Note that some reviewers added that this cookbook also contains recipes that don't skimp on full-fat coconut milk, salt, sugar, and oils.
Price at time of publish: $22
Number of Recipes: 90+ | Pages: 320 | Date Published: 2019
Best for Families
Instant Pot Family Meals: 60+ Fast, Flavorful Meal for the Dinner Table
Culinary instructor and food writer Ivy Manning is considered to be an Instant Pot expert, having written two previous books ("Instant Pot Miracle 6 Ingredients or Less: 100 No-Fuss Recipes for Easy Meals" and "Instant Pot Italian: 100 Irresistible Recipes Made Easier Than Ever") fully endorsed by Instant Brands.
What makes her latest title such a standout is its focus on meals that appeal to adults and kids alike and will feed a family of four or more in rapid time. Many of the included dishes can be served up as lunch, dinner, sides or hearty snacks, and instructions for condiments accompany several of the entrees, such as Thai butternut squash soup with peanut-cilantro relish, honey barbecue wings with homemade ranch dip, and white fish tacos with mango salsa and lime crema.
Price at time of publish: $25
Number of Recipes: 60+ | Pages: 128 | Date Published: 2020
Best for Desserts
Instantly Sweet : 75 Desserts and Sweet Treats from Your Instant Pot or Other Electric Pressure Cooker
One of the Instant Pot's claims is that it can be used to make every course—yes, even dessert. It might seem strange to bake a cake or put together a pudding inside a pressure cooker, but these pages promise to take the guesswork out of it.
As the title implies, the ideas go beyond the final course to include other kinds of sweets, such as quick bread and breakfast treats. From pies and cobblers to lava cakes, quick and easy indulgences are now perfectly achievable with Barbara Schieving and Marci Buttars' "Instantly Sweet: 75 Desserts and Sweet Treats from Your Instant Pot or Other Electric Pressure Cooker." Several of the cheesecakes, such as the vanilla pumpkin with maple glaze cheesecake and the strawberry swirl cheesecake, were standouts among many reviewers.
Price at time of publish: $20
Number of Recipes: 75 | Pages: 160 | Date Published: 2018
Best for Kids
The Instant Pot Cookbook For Kids
It's never to early to get kids excited about being in the kitchen. Building up cooking skills and a love for trying new recipes is an important part of growing up. This Instant Pot cookbook is for all the junior chefs out there. It includes 53 tasty kid-friendly recipes that cover a wide array of categories, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, sides, snacks, and desserts. Each and every recipe comes complete with a color photograph, too.
The cookbook contains much more than just standard kid fare, like mac and cheese; it truly encourages kids to try new things. Some highlights include acorn squash with brown sugar, shrimp jambalaya, cheesy-stuffed Alfredo chicken, and honey-cinnamon carrots.
Price at time of publish: $20
Number of Recipes: 53 | Pages: 128 | Date Published: 2019
Instant Pot Miracle Vegetarian Cookbook: More than 100 Easy Meatless Meals for Your Favorite Kitchen Device
Vegetarian food can burst with flavor, which is what the “Instant Pot Miracle Vegetarian Cookbook” emphasizes. It covers a variety of foods and flavors from all around the world, including Indian, Greek, Mexican, French, Thai, and more. Instead of being organized by meal type, the 100 recipes in this veggie cookbook are organized by main ingredient. You’ll find chapters on vegetables, lentils and legumes, grains, eggs and cheese, sauces and spice mixes, and a bonus section on desserts and drinks.
Author Urvashi Pitre is no stranger to writing cookbooks, having penned bestsellers such as “Indian Instant Pot Cookbook” and “The Instant Pot Fast & Easy.”
Price at time of publish: $23
Number of Recipes: 100 | Pages: 256 | Date Published: 2020
"The Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook" is our top pick due to its wide variety of recipes and the helpful tips included at the end of each recipe. Plus, most of the ingredients are easy to find, and we were able to make the majority of the recipes in 30 to 45 minutes. For those following the keto diet, check out "The Keto Instant Pot Cookbook."
What to Look for in an Instant Pot Cookbook
You can cook almost anything in an Instant Pot, and there are cookbooks to help show you how. Some are general and cover a little bit of everything, while others cater to specific types of foods or diets. Your taste and dietary needs will help you choose the right one for you.
While Instant Pots are meant to make cooking simpler, some recipes can be quite complicated. Consider your cooking skills as well as your desire to experiment. Rest assured that there are great books out there for everyone, from beginning cooks to seasoned at-home chefs looking to get creative with their cuisine.
Some cookbooks are more utilitarian, while others are like works of art with beautiful photography and gorgeous styling. If you're one who likes to linger over your cookbooks or display them, this may be more important to you. On the other hand, if your cookbooks end up stain-splattered and you’re fine with that, you’ll probably be more interested in the actual words rather than the appearance.
Number of Recipes
There is no set rule for how many recipes a cookbook contains. They can range anywhere from 50 to 500. If you want a practical cookbook brimming with options that you’ll explore for years to come, try aiming for a cookbook that has over 100 recipes in it. If you don’t want to be overwhelmed by sheer choice, or are a newcomer to a certain type of cooking, a smaller cookbook may be better.
What is an Instant Pot?
An Instant Pot is an all-in-one cooking appliance that features functions that allow you to sauté, pressure cook, slow cook, make yogurt, and cook sous vide. The Instant Pot is a brand of electric pressure cooker that, well, cooks food under pressure, which allows for a much faster cooking time than traditional stovetop or oven cooking.
What can you cook in an Instant Pot?
Almost anything can be made in an Instant Pot, including meat, pasta, vegetables, rice, and oatmeal. Particular tried-and-true dishes of regular users are cheesy pasta, tender ribs, hearty chili, beef stew, lentils, and even cheesecake. All Instant Pots come with preset functions that are easy to adjust in regard to the specific dish being prepared.
Can you cook from frozen in an Instant Pot?
Yes. The Instant Pot makes cooking from frozen a snap. When cooking from frozen, add enough liquid to just cover the frozen item, and increase the pressure-cooking time by 50 percent. For example, six minutes per thawed chicken breast would increase to nine minutes per frozen chicken breast.
How do you clean an Instant Pot?
All parts of the Instant Pot, except for the cooker base, are dishwasher-safe. This includes the stainless steel inner pot, lid, lid components, sealing ring, and steam rack. The cooker base must be kept dry but can be wiped down with a damp cloth when necessary.
Can an Instant Pot be used for canning?
“We currently have one Instant Pot model that is capable of pressure canning. The 6-quart Instant Pot Max is rated at 15 PSI. Pressure canning is for low-acid foods, like vegetables and meats, and requires a minimum 15 PSI,” says Stefanie Daichendt, Influencer Relations Manager at Instant Brands. “All other Instant Pots are rated up to 12 PSI. This means that they do not reach the appropriate pressure for safe canning. It is possible to do water-boil canning in our other Instant Pots. For water boiling in the Instant Pot, we would recommend using the 'slow cook' function on the 'more' setting, as this will ensure that the water in the pot remains at a steady boil between 200 and 210 degrees Fahrenheit. It is also important to follow the USDA guidelines when canning in an Instant Pot.”
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Julia Warren is the Senior Vice President of Commerce Operations at The Spruce Eats. In addition to Instant Pot cookbooks, she has also written about the best Mexican and vegan cookbooks. One source Julia trusts for sous vide recipes in particular is America's Test Kitchen: "The times and temperatures that you need to sous vide perfectly need to be precise, and [they're] one of the few sources I trust to test out all my favorite recipes," she says.
This roundup was updated by Rachel Werner, a cookbook reviewer, culinary writer, and former World Food Championship judge. Her lifestyle content, food styling, and photography have appeared in a variety of regional and national publications, including Fabulous Wisconsin, BRAVA, and Hobby Farms Magazine. She interviewed Daniel Shumski, author of "How To Instant Pot," and Laurel Randolph, author of "The Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook" for this roundup.
Allison Wignall, who also updated this article, is a writer who focuses on food and kitchen products. She’s enjoyed countless flavorful Instant Pot meals over the years, with a penchant towards her mother’s tender pot roast. Her work has been featured in publications including Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, and Southern Living.
Daniel Shumski is the author of "How to Instant Pot."
Laurel Randolph is the author of "The Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook."
National Center for Home Food Preservation. USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, 2015 Revision.